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8 April 2009
Prehistoric cave houses among China's top discoveries

A group of man-made cave houses dating back 5,500 years ranked top among the 10 most significant archaeological discoveries in China in 2008, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH) announced. Other discoveries included a Bronze-Age graveyard in northwest China's Gansu Province and a tomb that proves the existence of a kingdom during the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BCE).
     The Yangguanzhai ruin, in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, consists of 17 cave houses on a cliff and adjacent pottery kilns near Gaoling county, 20 km away from the provincial capital Xi'an. Scientists believe the caves, built between 3,500 to 3,000 BCE, were the earliest man-made cave homes in China, and belonged to a late Neolithic culture named Yangshao. Yangshao culture originated on the middle reaches of the Yellow River and was considered a main ancestor of Chinese civilization. Archaeologists also found pottery kilns and caves to store pottery beside the houses in Yangguangzhai, as well as pottery items, fragments and tools. They believed the caves were homes to families of pottery makers.
     In Lintan County, Gansu, archaeologists excavated more than 340tombs at a graveyard near the Tao River and unearthed many pottery items, which were believed to provide new clues to the study of 4,000-year-old Qijia culture. The excavation of the Shuangdun tomb in Bengbu City, central China's Anhui Province, provided strong evidence for the existenceof the Zhongli Kingdom during the Spring and Autumn Period, thanks to enormous discoveries of bronze and pottery items.

Source: China View (1 April 2009)

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